The Bank of England has cut the growth forecasts for the UK economy to 1.3% this year, from the previous figure of 1.5%. The bank warned that Brexit was causing an negative impact on the economy and was leading to “a marked depreciation of the sterling exchange rate”.
The bank’s report also noted:
“Brexit-related developments, such as stockbuilding ahead of previous deadlines, are making UK data volatile. After growing by 0.5% in 2019 Q1, GDP is expected to have been flat in Q2, slightly weaker than anticipated in May. Looking through recent volatility, underlying growth appears to have slowed since 2018 to a rate below potential, reflecting both the impact of intensifying Brexit-related uncertainties on business investment and weaker global growth on net trade.”
Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has confirmed that £2.1 billion of additional funding will be made available to help with the preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The money will consist of £1.1 billion immediately to deal with critical areas relating to the UK’s departure from the EU, with a further £1 billion earmarked to enhance operational preparedness at the time of departure.
Javid said in a statement:
“With 92 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s vital that we intensify our planning to ensure we are ready. We want to get a good deal that abolishes the anti-democratic backstop. But if we can’t get a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one. This additional £2.1 billion will ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October – deal or no deal.”
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a statement:
“This is an appalling waste of taxpayers’ cash, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable No Deal. This government could have ruled out No Deal, and spent these billions on our schools, hospitals, and people. “Labour is a party for the whole of the UK, so we’ll do all we can to block a No Deal, crash-out Brexit – and we’ll deliver a transformative economic policy that delivers for the many, not the few.”
The pound has continued to slide in the international monetary markets as the economic crisis worsens for the Government. After heavy falls last week, the pound has fallen again to $1.2122 against the US dollar in what is becoming a mounting economic crisis. Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is now expected to take economic action to prevent the slide in the pound.
The pound has crashed to a 28-month low against the dollar in response to the policies announced by Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister. The value of the pound dipped to $1.2242 against the US dollar, its lowest level since March 2017.
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said that he will resign if Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister. Hammond said that he couldn’t be part of a Cabinet which would accept a no-deal Brexit, and he stated that he would resign before Theresa May heads to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Hammond said:
“Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister. I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no deal exit on the 31st of October. That is not something I could ever sign up to. It’s very important that a Prime Minister is able to have a Chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.”
Boris Johnson, one of the two remaining candidates to become the leader of the Conservative Party, has been accused of misleading the public following his claim in party hustings that the European Union forced kipper suppliers in the Isle of Man to keep their dried fish cool with ice pillows.
Johnson said in his speech:
“After decades of sending kippers like this through the post he has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this: a plastic ice pillow.”
Johnson’s claims were rejected by the European Union who said that the Food Standards Agency in the UK were responsible for the decision as the bloc did not have legal competence in this area. A spokesperson for the EU said:
“The case described by Mr Johnson falls outside the scope of the EU legislation and it’s purely a UK national competence, so I hope this is clear and the rules must be checked with the national authorities.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the Brexit co-ordinator for the European Parliament, said of Johnson’s speech that:
“National politicians who promote misinformation about “Brussels” for their own interests deserve to be caught out.”
Fullfact, the charity which fact-checks claims, said:
“The EU does not set any requirements on the temperature at which smoked fish must be transported. The temperature requirement is a UK regulation.”
The Government has today lost a vote in the House of Commons which will make it more difficult to suspend Parliament in October. Boris Johnson, one of the two remaining candidates for the Conservative Party leadership had refused to rule out proroguing Parliament as the Commons may have prevented a no deal Brexit.
The amendment was won by 315 votes to 274 votes, which was a larger margin that had been expected. Margot James, the Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, resigned from her role today in order to vote for the amendment.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has met with Fabian Picardo, the First Minister of Gibraltar, at Downing Street to discuss current matters of interest. These include the UK’s departure from the European Union and the future of the territory.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:
“The Prime Minister met the Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo at Downing Street today. They discussed the work they have done together in a range of areas over the past three years, particularly on the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Chief Minister passed on his thanks from the people of Gibraltar for the Prime Minister’s ongoing support. The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s steadfast commitment to Gibraltar and expressed her confidence that this will continue.
The Prime Minister and Chief Minister also discussed the latest developments in the Gibraltarian legal case on the detained oil tanker Grace I. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of Gibraltar’s independent legal process being followed and paid tribute to their efforts to implement EU Syria sanctions.”
Sir John Major, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, has said that he would himself start a judicial review if Boris Johnson attempted to prorogue Parliament to avoid the Commons blocking a no deal Brexit. His comments come after last night’s television debate when Johnson refused to rule that option out.
“I think that the idea of proroguing Parliament is utterly and totally unacceptable from any British Parliamentarian or democrat. Let’s strip away the jargon of proroguing and contemplate on what this actually means. What it means, and Prime Minister Johnson presumably, because he cannot persuade Parliament to agree with his policy will close down Parliament so that he can bypass it until his policy comes into operation.”
“I think that this is completely and utterly against Parliamentary tradition and against the way in which our Government should work. If that were to happen I think that there would be a queue of people who would seek judicial review. The Queen’s decision cannot be challenged in law, but the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen can, I believe, be challenged in law and I, for one, would be prepared to go and seek judicial review to prevent Parliament being bypassed.
I served in Parliament for over twenty years, I’m very proud to have done so, I have huge admiration for our Parliamentary traditions and I am not going to stand by and see them disregarded in this fashion. It is utterly and completely the wrong way to proceed.”
Major said, when asked by Sackur who he was voting for:
“A ballot is private, but it’s fairly evident from my views that I cannot vote for someone who was part of the Brexit campaign which misled the country. So I shall offer my vote to Jeremy Hunt, and I don’t think anyone will be in any doubt about that.”
When asked about whether the majority of Tories want Brexit, Major said:
“I find it very difficult for any Prime Minister wishing to lead the whole of our country can entirely ignore the views of 48% of people who passionately do not want to see Brexit at all because they believe it is bad for their country. They cannot be ignored, it’s not only wrong constitutionally, I think politically it’s crazy. Those 48% of people are going to remember that they were completely ignored and they will remember that at the next election and for a very long time to come.”
When asked if MPs should back Brexit, Major added:
“Parliamentarians are in an extraordinarily difficult position that we have not seen before. I would guess that 70% to 80% of Parliament believe that Brexit is a disaster, that we should not be leaving Europe and that it’s damaging to our country and damaging to our future. But they feel hamstrung in carrying their conscience and their belief through to action because of the result of the referendum.”